Napoli make flying start but Eder brings them back down to earth
It was always going to take a superb performance from Sampdoria to emerge with any points from the San Paolo in Naples and the Blucerchiati’s reaction was exactly that after finding themselves two behind at the break. The visitors though come home with a point after a double from Eder, capping a great response from Walter Zenga’s side.
Sampdoria wore their new yellow kits for the first time, as they lined up in their usual 4-3-1-2 system. Missing Ivan through suspension, Zenga opted for Palombo, who began the match in an unfamiliar role ‘in the hole’, tasked with stifling the impact of Valdifiori. Maurizio Sarri also went with the same formation, picking Callejon and Higuain up top and Insigne in behind.
It was a selection that paid dividends for the Napoli coach, as Higuain opened the scoring on nine minutes, latching onto a clever through-ball from local lad Insigne and dinking the ball over Viviano. Insigne was on inspired form and nearly doubled their lead two minutes later, working a shooting angle only to see his powerful shot cannon back off the upright.
Midway through the first period, Samp lost Coda to injury, as he was stretchered off before being replaced by Zukanovic. The Doria defence kept the same shape and Insigne kept causing them problems, going close on the half-hour mark after showing Cassani a clean pair of heels. A few minutes later, Silvestre found a way of halting the Neapolitan and picked up a booking for his trouble. Five minutes before the interval, Sampdoria responded but Soriano mishit his effort from a good position. The same cannot be said of Higuain however, as he unerringly swept the ball into the far corner after being sent clear by Allan.
The Blucerchiati came out after the break determined to find a way back into the match and on 57 minutes, Fernando won a penalty, which Eder converted with his trademark calm. Two minutes later, he had his name on the scoresheet once again, twisting and turning away from Koulibaly before leaving Reina with no chance. Two goals in the space of as many minutes had turned the game on its head.
Sarri waited a couple more minutes before eventually throwing on Lopez, Jorginho and Goulam in place of Allan, Valdifiori and Hysaj respectively. Eight minutes from time, Muriel was well found by Fernando and nearly stunned the San Paolo, his shot rattling the crossbar after a crucial touch by Reina.
Insigne came forward for the hosts meanwhile, nutmegging an opponent before firing over. Sampdoria needed fresh legs too, so on came in Wszolek (in place of Soriano) and debutant Moisander (replacing the exhausted Eder). There were no more goals to come in the three minutes of added time awarded by Mr Gervasoni. The Blucerchiati head back north from the San Paolo with a big point for the league table and their self-confidence.
Napoli 2-2 Sampdoria (HT: 2-0)
Scorers: Higuain 9, 40, Eder 57, 59.
Napoli (4-3-1-2): Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Hysaj (Ghoulam 71); Allan (Lopez 58), Valdifiori (Jorginho 68), Hamsik; Insigne; Callejon, Higuain.
Subs not used: Rafael, Gabriel, Strinic, Henrique, Jorginho, Mertens, Lopez, Dezi, Gabbiadini, Ghoulam, El Kaddouri, Luperto.
Coach: Maurizio Sarri.
Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Cassani, Silvestre, Coda (Zukanovic 22), Regini; Barreto, Fernando, Soriano (Wszolek 41); Palombo; Eder (Moisander 89), Muriel.
Subs not used: Puggioni, Brignoli, Mesbah, Correa, Bonazzoli, Pereira, Carbonero, Oneto, Serinelli.
Coach: Walter Zenga.
Referee: Gervasoni (Mantova).
Assistants: Preti & Ranghetti.
Fourth official: De Luca.
Additional assistants: Valeri & Di Paolo.
Booked: Silvestre 33.
Added time: 2+3 minutes.